About Andrés Spokoiny...

Sukkot: Don’t Read This—It’s Utterly Futile

The choice of Kohelet for Sukkot is a curious one. Sukkot is supposed to be the most joyous festival in our calendar, and yet, on it we read a book that starts with this uplifting phrase: “Utter futility, utter futility, everything is futile”. Gulp.

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Philanthropic Arrogance (and how to avoid it), Part II

In order to succeed as philanthropists, we need to better understand and accept the views of those who are in positions of less relative power. Now, that’s not impossible, but it takes deliberate, and sometimes uncomfortable, action.

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The New Year for Globalists & Nationalists

Cross-posted on eJewish Philanthropy

Georg Friedrich Hegel was to modern thought what Plato was to Greek philosophy. Most of the ideological movements of the 19th and 20th century see themselves as his heirs: from Marxists to nationalists and from existentialists to psychoanalysts, they all imbibed Hegel’s philosophy and methodology, especially the “dialectic”: thesis, antithesis, synthesis.

But we Jews were, as usual, a thorn in Hegel’s side.

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Arrogance of Philanthropists, Part I

Philanthropy Daily, Sep 13, 2017

Many people acquire power precisely by having a great capacity to be empathetic, or, at least, to be well-attuned to the emotional realities of others. But then, achieving that power seems to cause a loss of that very capability.

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Tisha Be’Av: A Failed Holiday?

If the purpose of Tisha Be’Av is to warn us about the dangers of internecine hatred, it has failed miserably.

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Do You Fund Like Chairman Mao?

eJewish Philanthropy, June 12, 2017.

All that death and destruction could have been avoided with honest and timely feedback.

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The Words We Say and the Words We Don’t: Shavuot 5777

Every time you scan your purchases at the grocery store self-checkout line, you’re learning Jewish mysticism.

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How to Change the World: A Conversation with Charles Bronfman and Harold Grinspoon

eJewish Philanthropy, May 2, 2017

At the recent Jewish Funders Network conference, I sat down with two living legends of philanthropy: Harold Grinspoon and Charles Bronfman. My job was to interview them and find a common thread between their charitable works.

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Letter to My Son Going to Israel

Friends,

I generally use the Jewish holidays to share ideas and insights on Judaism and philanthropy. But this holiday of Yom Haatzmaut, Israel’s independence day, feels different for me, because my older son is celebrating it there, in a trip to Israel with his school. I never cease to feel gratitude for the undeserved privilege we have of being the first generation in 2,000 years to live with a Jewish sovereign state. I feel also the responsibility that this entails. As my son travels there, I wanted to share with you my words to him. 


My dear son,

You are going to Israel for the first time. Well, it’s not really the first time; you were there with me as a baby, but that was before your toddler memory hit the reset button. So, this is the first time you’ll remember and I wanted to write to you to tell you what this means to me, and to our entire family. Why I’m so moved by this trip of yours, and why grandma’s voice breaks when she talks to you about it. 

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Andrés on m/Oppenheim Insight

JFN President & CEO Andrés Spokoiny discusses what JFN does in the Insight series from m/Oppenheim Associates.

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